Seven laws took effect on Jan. 1, 2016, with the goal of improving the lives of California’s veterans, service members, and their families.
“I thank our Governor and legislature for collaborating with CalVet on behalf of our 1.8 million veterans living in California.” said Dr. Vito Imbasciani, Secretary, California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).
The first new law assists surviving family members with continuing the operations of a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) after the death or permanent medical disability of a veteran. Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 413 (Chapter 513, statutes of 2015), by Assemblymember Rocky Chavez (R – Oceanside).
The new law allows survivors to fully operate the DVBE for up to three years after the disabled veteran’s death or certification of permanent medical disability. The law allows survivor-owned DVBEs to enter into new contracts under the DVBE certification if the contracts can be completed within those three years. This gives survivors the time and flexibility to manage the business in a way that best suits their needs. CalVet holds the position of statewide DVBE advocate, and works in tandem with Department of General Services (DGS) to supply outreach, recruitment, and support to DVBEs.
The second new law assists disabled veterans who are new state employees. Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 221 (Chapter 794, statutes of 2015), authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D - Santa Barbara). The law benefits new state employees who are veterans with a service-connected disability certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The law allows up to 96 hours of sick leave during the veteran’s first year in the state workforce to attend medical appointments during work hours without having to take unpaid leave.
Governor Brown signed five additional veteran-related bills into law that took effect Jan. 1, 2016:
Assembly Bill 388 (Chapter 692, statutes of 2015), authored by Assemblymember Ling Ling Chang (R - Diamond Bar): Requires the evaluation of programs relating to the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act to include information relating to the effectiveness in helping veterans occupying supportive housing or transitional housing developments.
Assembly Bill 778 (Chapter 84, statutes of 2015), authored by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (R - San Diego): Allows veterans to request military documents from the county recorder’s office with a digital request to promote easier access to veteran’s services.
Assembly Bill 1401 (Chapter 254, statutes of 2015), authored by Assemblymember Catherine Baker (R - San Ramon): Provides veterans of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, and the Naval Militia with greater access to student financial aid services.
Senate Bill 386 (Chapter 246, statutes of 2015), authored by Senator Benjamin Allen (D - Santa Monica): Protects veterans from pension scams and makes illegal the act of advertising the pension poaching scams.
Senate Bill 685 (Chapter 423, statutes of 2015), authored by Senator Mike McGuire (D - Healdsburg): Authorizes licensed veterans’ clubs to sell and serve alcoholic beverages to members of other veterans’ organizations, active duty or reserve service members, or veterans, and to members of their own organization and their guests.